tv Meet the Press MSNBC January 9, 2012 2:00am-3:00am EST
>> good morning. >> good morning. >> i want to say on behalf of all americans, that i thank you for being willing to debate each other every ten hours, whether you feel you need it or not. this is an important moment. elections are about choices. they are about distinguishing one from the other. there's a political element to that, and of course it has to do with policy as well. governor romney has won the iowa caucuses, although narrowly, and he is up in the polls in new hampshire and up in the polls down in south carolina. speaker gingrich, why should not the governor romney be the nominee of this party? what about his record concerns you most or makes him disqualified to be the nominee? >> i think what republicans has to ask who is most likely in the long run to survive against the billion-dollar campaign the obama campaign team will run. a i think a bold reagan conservative with a strong economic plan is more likely to succeed than a timid massachusetts moderate who even the wall street journal said he has a plan so timid he resembled obama. we created 11 million jobs while i was speaker and i worked with president reagan in 1980, so there's a huge difference between a reagan conservative, and somebody that comes out of the massachusetts culture, who i think will have a very hard time in a debate with president obama. >> bottom line, you think romney is unelectable? ave a hard time getting re-elected -- elected. >> governor?
>> i am proud of the record that i have, and you cannot fool the people of massachusetts as the been there, and why shouldn't governor romney be the nominee? what is disqualifying in your judgment? >> if his record is so great, why didn't he run for re-election. succeed than a timid massachusetts moderate who even the wall street journal said he has a plan so timid he resembled obama. we created 11 million jobs while i was speaker and i worked with president reagan in 1980, so there's a huge difference between a reagan conservative, and somebody that comes out of the massachusetts culture, who i think will have a very hard time in a debate with president obama. >> bottom line, you think romney is unelectable? >> against obama's record, i think the fact is that president
obama is going to have a very hard re-election effort, but the biggest the contrast and boulder ideas, the harder that is for the billion-dollar campaign can spear his way back into office. >> this is your flyer, and it says clearly romney is not electable? >> i think he will have a hard time getting re-elected -- elected. >> governor? >> i am proud of the record that i have, and you cannot fool the people of massachusetts as the record of the governor next year. i brought important change to massachusetts. i cut taxes 19 times and balanced the budget every one of the four years i was governor, and put in place a rainy day fund. we had seen job losses in the months leading up to my becoming the governor, and then we began to finally create jobs. we created more jobs in massachusetts than barack obama's created in the entire country. we also got our state police to
enforce illegal immigration laws, and put in place english emerged in our schools, and i am proud of the conservative records that i have, and i believe that's why some of those that don't have an axe to grind has gotten behind my campaign, governor haley, and chris christie, and these are conservatives that looked at my record, and i believe if we want to replace a life-time politician, like barack obama who had no experience leading anything, you have to choose somebody who has not been a lich-long politician and has not spent his entire career in washington and has proven time again he can lead, in the private sector twice, and in the olympics and as a governor. >> senator santorum, had you not lost the election you would have been there, and why shouldn't
governor romney be the nominee? what is disqualifying in your judgment? >> if his record is so great, why didn't he run for re-election. if you won't stand behind the people of massachusetts, if your record was that great why did you bail out? the bottom line is, i go and fight the fight. if it was that important to the people of massachusetts that were going to fight for them, at least you can stand up and make the battle that you did a good job. i ran for re-election a couple times and ran a couple times, and i was redistricts. i was in a 71% democratic district, it was a hard thing to do. my district is more democrat than the state of massachusetts. i stood up with the conservative principles. i didn't do what governor romney did in 1994, i was running the same year he did, and i ran in the state of pennsylvania
against an incumbent. romney ran for ronald reagan and said he would be to the left of ted kennedy. we need somebody that will stand up and fight for the conservative principles and not bail out and not run and not run to the left of ted kennedy. >> you did say four years ago he would stand up for principles. >> john mccain. >> well, a lot of things were inaccurate, and i will not go through them one by one, but i will tell you i think it's unusual and understandable that people that spend their life in politics imagine if you get in politics that's all you want to do. i went to massachusetts to make a difference. i did not go there to begin a political career running time and time again. i made a difference and put in
place the things i wanted to do, and i listed out the accomplishments we wanted to pursue in our administration. those things i pursued aggressively and some we ran and some we didn't. run again? that would be about me. i was trying to get the state in the best shape i possibly could, and left the world of politics and went back in business, and now i have the opportunity to use the experience i have -- you have a surprised look on your face -- >> rick, rick, it's still my time. >> i am just asking. >> governor romney, take 30 seconds there. >> what i will tell you, this for me, politics is not a career. for me, my career was being in business and starting a business and making it successful. my life's passion is my family, faith and my country. i believe in the experiences i have had i am in a position to make a contribution to washington. i long for a day instead of
people go to washington for 20 and 30 years, and when they lose they stay there and make money as lobbyist, and i think it stinks. i think people should go to work in washington and serve washington and serve as the people of their nation and go home. i would like to see term limits in washington. as the president of the united states, if i am elected, of course i will fight for a second term. >> take 30 seconds. >> i realize the red light doesn't mean anything to you because you are the frontrunner -- but could we drop a little bit of the pieious baloney. you ran in '94 and lost, and that's why you were not serving with santorum. you had a bad rating and dropped office and had been out of state for 200 days and prepared to run for election, and you were running for president while you
were governor, and you were going all over the country, and you were out of state consistently, and you then promptly re-entered politics and lost to mccain as you did to kennedy. you have been running consistently for years and years, and then suddenly citizenship showed up in your minds, and just level with the american people, you have been running since the 1990s. >> governor, please. >> mr. speaker, citizenship has always been on my mind. and i happened to see my dad run for governor when he was 54 years old. he had good advice to me. he said never get involved in politics if you have to win election to pay a mortgage. if you find yourself in a position when you can serve, you ought to have a responsibility to do so if you think you can make a difference, and don't get involved in politics when your kids are still young because it may turn their heads. when i saw ted kennedy running virtually unopposed, a man had
created a permanent under class in america, i thought somebody has to run against him. i happened to have been wise enough to realize i did not have a ghost of a chance of beating him. a republican from massachusetts was going to beat ted kennedy. i told my partners in my firm, i will be back in six months, don't take my chair. i was happy that he had to take a mortgage out on his house to ultimately defeat me. i am very proud of the fact that i have stood up as a citizen to battle where i felt it was best for the nation, and we're talking about running for president. i am in the race because i care about the country. >> let me bring paul into this, because there is a question about who is the true conservative in the race. governor romney said nine years ago in an interview, he said i think people recognize i am not a partisan republican and i am somebody moderate and views are
progressive, and do you believe romney now when he says he will stand up for conservative principles. >> this discussion sosuperficial. i think we should deal with the issues as well. i don't see how we can do well against obama if we have any candidate that endorsed, you know, single payer systems and t.a.r.p. payouts, and injections of bailing out their friends, i don't see how we can have anybody compete with obama that doesn't challenge this huge empire we have oversees in the overseas spending. this is how nations come down. you extend them too far overseas, and that's how the soviets came down. we have to talk about real cuts and we have got gotten around to this yet. if we want to change things, this is what we have to talk about. character is important and motivation is important, and history is important but i
consider that in the debate format to be less signature than what we really believe in. >> you read my mind, dr. paul, and we will get to some of the tough choices on policy. and is governor romney unelectable in your judgment, mr. perry? >> you have to ask the question, who is it that can beat obama and who can invigorate the tea party and who can take the message of smaller outside government that is truly going to change that place, as i look from here down to rick santorum, i see insiders, those who have been the big-spending republicans in washington, d.c. let's be honest with ourselves. the fact of the matter is obama has thrown gasoline on the fire. but the bon fire was burning well before obama got there. it was policies and spending both from wall street and from
the insiders in washington d.c. that got us in this problem. we need a candidate that can not only draw that stark contrast between themselves and barack obama, but also stand up and lead the tea party movement back. 2010 was about the tea party standing up and understanding that republicans, big-spending republicans had caused as much of the problem as anything. it was their power that brought together -- that brought washington, d.c. and the house to republican control, and that's the kind of individual that we have to have to lead this election. >> governor romney i would be remiss to not respond to the quote i read from you nine years ago, so what would you say to conservatives that they will trust you will stand up? >> they have my record as governor. i had the occasion after my last failed attempt for running for president, to sit down and write
a book, and people can describe it in different ways, but my view is that the principles that i learned in business and the principles as governor, frankly it made me more conservative as time has gone on. i have seen a lot of government trying to solve problems, and it didn't work. the right course for america is to have somebody who understands how the economy works, and will passionately get back on track. >> this is an age of austerity for the country, and a jobs crisis and spending crisis in washington. i wonder what specifically you would do to say to americans, these are cuts i am going to make in federal spending that will cause pain that will require a sacrifice? >> let me say, first are all, with respect to governor romney, there are a lot of people who are tuning in this morning, and i am sure they are terribly confused after watching all of
the political spin up here. i was criticized last night by governor romney for putting my country first. and i just want to remind the people here in new hampshire and throughout the united states that i think -- [ applause ] -- he criticized me while he was out raising money for serving my country in china. like my two sons, they are not asking what the political is -- i will always put my country first. >> i will come back to you on the austerity question. >> i think we serve our country first by standing for people who believe in conservative principles and doing everything in our power to promote an agenda that does not include president obama's agenda. i don't disrespect your decision to work for president obama, but most likely it's the person that
should represent our party running against president obama is not somebody that went to be his ambassador in china. >> this station is divided, david, because of attitudes like that. [ applause ] >> the american people are tired of the partisan division, and they have no trust left among the american people and our elected officials. i say we have had enough and we have to change our direction in terms of coming together as americans first and foremost -- >> dr. paul said let's not be superficial. name three areas where americans will feel three pain in order to balance the budget? >> well, i would have to say that i agree with the ryan plan. i am the only one standing up here who embraced the ryan plan. it's an aggressive approach to taking about $6.2 trillion out of the budget over ten years.
and it looks at everything. what i like about it, it says there will be no sacred cow. department of defense won't be a sacred cow. as the president of the united states i am going to stand up and say we are where we are, 24% spending as -- >> three programs that will make americans feel pain, sir? >> let me say on entitlements, across the board i will tell the upper income category, there will be means testing. >> social security and medicare? >> absolutely. absolutely. and also, i am not going to tie the department of defense testing to some percentage of gdp, but i will tie it to a strategy that protects the american people, and if you think we can't find cuts in the department of defense budget, then we are crazy. >> santorum, three departments? >> i agree, means testing.
i talked about how we have to make sure we will not burden generations with social security that is underfunded, and we have to take those who are successful and seniors and have reduced wealth. tax on labor makes it uncompetitive, and the idea somebody on the left would raise those taxes to subsidize high income seniors doesn't make sense to me. and including housing programs, block rent them, and send it back to the states and require work and put a time limit. you do those three things, and we will help take those programs, which are now dependency programs, and you take them to transitional programs to help people move out of poverty.
>> you talked about what paul ryan was talking about was a step too far, which was moving seniors on to a voucher program. senator santorum thinks current seniors should be moved off of the program into a voucher program, and do you agree with that? >> the fact is, the ryan bill which was introduced recently incorporates allowing people to choose. they can go to new methods. it's a substantial improvement. it allows for a transition in medicare in a way that makes sense. but david, you know, i find it fascinating that very, very highly paid washington common taters and analysts love the idea of pain. who is going to be in pain? the duty of the president is to
find a way to manage the federal government so the primary pain is on changing the bureaucracy on theft alone we could save $100 billion a year if the federal government were competent. the only people in pain would be crooks. i think a sound approach would be to improve the government and not punishment person people because of the failure of the political class to have any sense of cleverness. >> there's a lot of questions that have been submitted. this is from martin montalvo. with more americans on government assistance than ever before is it un-american to feel relieves when the government helps them? >> what are the three areas that you would make reductions that people would feel pain, and i would tell you it would be the bureaucrats at the department of commerce and energy and education that we're going to do away with. [ applause ]
>> and that's your final answer? >> you know, the fact of the matter is, americans want to have a job. that's the issue here. and the idea that there are people clamoring for government to come and give them assistance is just wrong headed. and that's what we need to be focussing on as a people is how do we create the environment in the country, where the intrapreneurs know they can have a return on investment and create jobs so the people have dignity to take care of their problems. i have done that for the last 11 years in the state of texas and have the executive governorning experiencing that nobody else up here on the stage has. >> we will take a quick break and come back live from new hampshire with many more questions from the candidates and feedback from you. please participate online. we're coming right back to new hampshire.
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paul ryan had a program where there was supreme support, and there's debate about that. you said seniors should be affected right now, 55 plus, and that's been controversial. >> i hear this all the time. i have been campaigning around the state. you know, we should have the same kind of health care that members of congress have. it works very well. the federal government has a liability. they put money out there, and then if you want, you have about this thick, you have a whole bunch of plans to use from, and options available to you. if you want more of an expensive plan, you may more, and if you want it less expensive, you don't. you belief people can make choices, and i believe seniors
like everybody else should be free to make the choices in the health care plan that is best for them. >> there's discussion this morning on facebook about taxes. as we talk about taxes and spending, of course we fwauk economic security and economic growth. there has been a debate in washington and beyond between warren buffett and the tax crusader, and warren buffett says the wealthy can pay more and should pay more. who knows more about the american economy? nor quis or warren buffett? >> i am not sure if we can choose from the two of them. the right course for america is not to raise taxes on americans. i understand president obama and people of his political persuasion would like to take more money from the american people.
we have been going over the last 20 or 30, 40 years, government is growing faster. we have to stop the extraordinary spending in the country. i put out a plan that reduces spending and cut a whole series of programs, and the number one to cut is obama care, and that saves $95 billion a year. and just as rick indicated, return to states a whole series of programs, food stamps and set how much goes to them, and in the entitlement reform area, i do not want to change things for current retirees, and for younger people coming up, higher income people will receive less payments. >> who knows more about the american economy? you seem uncomfortable from a moment earlier when everybody
said they would reject a 10 to 1 ratio of cuts for new taxes. >> it was a silly format. they asked us to raise hands and we did not get a chance to talk about it. i put a tax reform on the table and it calls for what everybody needs to be done, and everybody knows about it. it weighs down the tax code to the tune of 1 trillion or $100 billion. we have to phase out loopholes and redctions in total. we have to prepare for competition. >> if you become president gang rich and the leader of the democrats, and harry reid said he will promise to make you a one-term president. how would you propose to work with somebody like that and make changes in washington?
>> i think everybody knows -- that's the american process. i worked with ronald reagan in the early 1980s, and tip o'neal was speaker and he wanted to make reagan a one-term president. as speaker, i was negotiating with bill clinton. he knew i wanted him to be a one-term president. we got a lot of things done including welfare reform. the country comes first. how are we going to get things done? we will fight later. let's sit down in a room and talk it through. i will tell what you i need and i will tell you what i can't do. you tell me what you need and what you can't do, and sometimes it takes 20 or 30 days. but if people of goodwill, even if they are partisans, come together and talk it out, you know, we have welfare reform, and the first tax cut in 26
years, and 4.2 unemployment, and a four straight year period with a balanced budget, it can be done with real leadership. >> anybody else have a point of view about how you actually work with the other side when they committed to working against you, governor? >> yeah, i was governor of a state that had a slightly democratic leading house and senate. my legislation was 85% democrat, and i went around at the very beginning and met with the speaker of the house and the senate president, and he said mitt, the campaign is over and the people expect us to govern for them and we did. we met every week. we got to know each other personally and developed a relationship of respect and rapport, even though we did disagree on many issues. without a vote of the legislature, they had enough confidence in me where they
decided to do that, and i was able to cut the spending on the emergency basis, and we can work together, and republicans and democrats are able to go across the aisle because we have common -- we do have areas of common interests, even though they are dramatic different perspectives on how the world works and what is right, we can find common ground. i am able to work with people, projected charter schools and drove our schools to be number one in the nation and kept them there, rather, and that record can work with republicans and democrats willing to work together. >> dr. paul, the question comes from facebook. heath treat rights, i want to know what ron paul's plan of action will be to achieve getting the house and senate to help him do all he has promised? only four measures made it to a vote on the house floor and only
one has been signed into law. >> you know, that demonstrates how much out of touch the u.s. government and congress is with the american people, because i am supporting things that help the american people. that's the disgust people have because they cope growing government. as far as working with other groups, i think my record is about as good as anybody's. i work that freedom and the constitution bring them together. people use freedoms to invite differences in religious and economic beliefs. on civil liberties, that's a different segment. republican conservatives are not all that well known for protecting personal liberties. spending overseas, i can work a coalition. my plan is to try and work our
way out of social security. i am cutting $1 trillion by attacking overseas spending and going back to the '06 budget. people that got special privileges from the government, they may get the pain, but the american people get their freedom back and they don't suffer pain. >> two previous presidents, they talked about transforming washington, and it hasn't worked. washington polarized, and the american people are sick of the fact that nothing gets done in washington. specifically, how do you change that? >> well, let me address congressman paul, and he never passed anything of any importance, and one of the reasons people like congressman paul is his economic plan. he has never been able to accomplish any of that. he has no track record to work together, and he has been
unsuccessful to work with anybody to do anything. what congressman paul can do as commander in chief, he can pull all the troops out of overseas and put them here in america, and then put them in situations where there will be huge vacuums all over the place, and look at the straits of hormuz. we would not have the fifth fleet there. all the things we're worried about, he would do day one. that's the problem. what we need to do is have somebody who has a plan and has experience to do all the things republicans and conseratives would like to do. >> let me respond -- >> i would like my opportunity to finish. >> it's not a task, 100 years of us still running a foreign
policy of woodrow wilson trying to make it safe for democracy. change in foreign policy is significant. but that's where a nation will come down if they keep doing this. we can't stay in 130 countries and get involved in nation willeding and cannot have 900 bases overseas, and we have to change policy. what about monetary policy? yes, we do. we had that for 100 years. we are winning that battle, and the american -- 75% of the american people say we ought to audit the federal reserve and find out what they are doing, and who are their friends they are bailing out constantly. >> it's easy to say, boy, i will change the culture in washington, but it has not worked for the past two presidents >>. >> it worked in my case. welfare reform. i remember standing next to ted kennedy, and he was out there talking about how this was going to be the end of civilization as
we know it, there would be bread lines, the consequences of removing federal support from mothers with children, and we said creating the dependency on federal dollars is more harmful and not believing in people and their ability to work is more harmful. we stood up and fought. we went out to the american public, and bill clinton vetoed this bill twice, and we had hard opposition, and i was able to work together and paint a vision. the core principles were this was going to end the federal program and put time limits on welfare. i stuck to those principles, and we were able to compromise on things like transportation funding and day care funding, all in order to get a consensus that poverty is not a
disability, and programs that we need to put in place should help transition people and not make them dependent, and we were able to get votes of 17 democrats. >> governor huntsman, this question of if the leader of the democrats promised to make you a one-term president, how would you go about it differently than obama did? >> i think it comes down to one word, and the one word is trust. when the american people look at the political process play out, they hear all the spinning and language, and they walk away with the belief they are not being represented in congress. the first press conference i had when i ran for governor in 2004 was on ethics in government service. i talked about term limits. i talked about campaign finance reform.
i talked about the role of lobbyist and knew i would not make a lot of friends. i had one member of the legislature that supported me in that run. we won because we had the will of the people. i believe the next president -- and if that is to be me, i want to roam around the country and generate the level of excitement and enthusiasm that i know exist among the american people to bring term limits to congress. to close the revoling door. we have to start with the structural problems. there's no trust. >> governor perry, i want to continue on the theme of leadership. >> you need to. >> as you know, new hampshire is an independent place. i wonder where, besides criticizing the previous administration for running up the debt, i wonder where you would buck your party? what would you say or do to make republicans uncomfortable? >> i hope i am making them uncomfortable right now by
talking about the spending they did in the 2000. >> aside from that -- >> well, dr. paul says the big egs problem is work overseas, and i disagree, i believe it's a congress out of control with their spending. we have to have an outsider that will walk in, not part of the insider group you see here, people who voted for raising the debt limit and people who have been part of the problem facing america, i will tell you two things that can occur, that a president can lead the charge on, and it will put term limits into place. one of those is a part-time congress to tell those members of congress we're going to cut your pay and the amount of time that you spend in washington, d.c. and send you back to your district so can you have a job and live under the laws of which you pass, and then a balanced budget amendment --
>> my question, sir, is -- >> that would make them uncomfortable. >> you think that will make them um comfortable? >> you right. a bunch of up here stand up and say they are conservatives, but their records don't follow that. >> we will take another quick break and return with much more. we are back in new so, this is delicious okay... is this where we're at now, we just eat whatever tastes good? like these sweet honey clusters... actually there's a half a day's worth of fiber in every ... why stop at cereal? bring on the pork chops and the hot fudge. fantastic. are you done sweetie? yea [ male announcer ] fiber beyond recognition. fiber one. hey, i love your cereal there-- it's got that sweet honey taste. but no way it's 80 calories, right? no way. lady, i just drive the truck. right, there's no way right, right? have a nice day. [ male announcer ] 80 delicious calories. fiber one.
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hampshire. i am happy to be joined by our local partners for the debate, senior political reporter, john dau stays yo is with us, and from whth -- we had this problem yesterday, channel 7 in boston, political director. john, get it started. >> governor huntsman, home heating oil is $4 a gallon, and president obama and congress have cut 25% who helps low income people heat their homes. 1 million households last year won't be helped this year that were helped last year. should this program funding be restored or cut more? shouldn't this program be eliminated, perhaps? where does it fit in. it's a practical problem in this area of the country. >> we have people in need and suffering. this is a challenge that we need to address. i believe we are not going to be
able to effectively confront it head on until this nation can move towards greater energy diversity and independence. one of the first things i would do as president is to look at the distribution bias that always favors one product, and that's oil. i would say if we are going to do what needs to be done, and get them to the customers, we're going to have to break up the one distribution property. we went to the federal trade commission and said we need more and sources to draw from, and service the consumers. if we will do what needs to be done from an energy independent standpoint, all products getting the products to the customer, we have to disrupt that one-product monopoly, that does not serve that well nor it's consumers.
>> congressman paul -- [ applause ] -- how do you feel about subsidies in general for energy, and also more specifically, right now, more immediately, this low income program, heating assistance program, is this something that fits in under your view of what government does do or should not do? >> well, some say it's bad economic policy and moral policy because it's moving government force to transfer money from one group to another and economically it does a lot of harm, but when it comes to energy, we should deregulate it like others talk about it. we need to talk -- supply and demand. everybody needs supply and demand and we talk about oil and if we had more alternative sources we hope the prices would go down, but 50% of the transaction is the monetary unit. few people talk about the supply and demand of money.
so prices go up much faster than any i would replace, so if you print money to subsaw dice somebody, you compound the problem. yeah, it's good politics, but it's bad economic policy and not a good way to find answers. >> governor romney, this is a good topic. there's a larger question about the social safety net. what about americans left behind? in this age of austerity, what do americans have to learn to live with less of? >> we don't need a federal government saying we are going to solve all the problems of poverty across the country. what it means to be poor in massachusetts is different than other places in the country. that's why these programs, all
these federal programs that are bundled to help people need to be brought together and sent back to the states, and let states closest to the needs of their own people craft the programs that are able to deal with the needs of those folks. whether it's food stamps and housing view chur voech vouchers. you have massive over head with government bureaucrats in washington administering all these program, and the money that goes to the people that needs the money actually helps them. it's time to say enough of that, and let's get the money back to the states the way the constitutions intended. intended and let states care for their own people in the way they feel best. [ applause ] governor romney, i'd like to remind you of something you said in bay windows, which is a gay
newspaper in massachusetts in 1994 when you were running against senator kennedy. these are your words. "i think the gay community needs more support from the republican party and i would be a voice in the republican party to foster anti-discrimination efforts." how have you stood up for gay rights and when have you used your voice to influence republicans on this issue? >> andy, as you know, i don't discriminate. and the appointments that i made whiffs governor of massachusetts. a member of my cabinet was gay. i appointed people to the bench regardless of their sexual orientation, made it clear we should not discriminate in hiring policies, in legal policies. at the same time, from the very beginning in 1994, i said to the gay community, i do not favor same sex marriage. i oppose same sex marriage and that has been my view. if people are looking for someone who will discriminate against gays or will in any way try and suggest that people --
that have different sexual orientation don't have full rights in this country, they won't find that in me. >> when was the last time you stood up and spoke out for increasing gay rights? >> right now. [ applause ] >> senator santorum, would you be a voice for increasing gay rights in party. >> surprised he's coming to me. what was your question? >> would you be a voice for speaking out for gay rights in your party and if not, why not? >> i would be a voice in speaking out for making sure that every person in america, gay or straight, is treated with respect and dignity and has the equality of opportunity. that does not mean that i would agree with certain things that the gay community would like to do with changing laws, with respect to marriage and adoption. you can be respectful. this is the beautiful thing about this country. james madison called the first amendment, he called it the
perfect remedy. that is people of all different backgrounds, diversity, opinions, faith, can come into the public square and can be heard and can be heard in a way that's respectful of everybody else. just because you don't agree with someone's desire to change the law doesn't mean you don't like them or you hate them or you want to discriminate against them. you're trying to promote things that you think are best for society, and i do so and i think if you watch the town hall meetings that i've been doing all over new hampshire. i do so in a respectful tone. i listen to the other side, i let them make argument and we do so in a very respectful way and you know what, we may not agree. that's why we leave it open to the public to elect members of congress and the senate and president who support their ideas. what if you had a son who came to you and said he was gay? >> i would love him as much as i did the second before he said it. and i would try to do everything i can to be as good a father to him as possible. [ applause ] >> governor perry, we're going
to move on. right to work which outlaws mandatory membership continues to be a major issue in the state of new hampshire. you've talk en about having states pass state laws. what about on the federal level, is this as a federal issue and one you would promote as president? >> actually, it is a federal issue and it's a federal issue because of the law that was passed that forces the states to make a decision about whether or not they're going to be right to work. jim demint's legislation, i would support that of repealing that legislation that forces states to make that decision to be a right to work rather than all of this country being right to work. listen, i'm not anti-union. i'm pro job. the way you promote this country's rehabilitation from the obama administration's attack on job creation is by
taxes and regulation, particularly the regulatory side and pulling those regulations that have gone forward over the course of the last, since '08 and test them all. do they create jobs or do they kill jobs? if they kill jobs, you throw them out. that will make more difference in this country from the standpoint -- i'm a right to work guy. i come from a right to work state. if new hampshire wants to become the magnet for job creation, you pass that right to work wedge lags in this state. [ applause ] >> i'd like to ask governor romney and senator santorum quickly. what positive contributions to labor unions provide in this country at this point in the 21st century? >> the carpenters union, for instance, trains their workers to be more effective on the job. when they compete against nonunion workers, they do that on a fair basis. that's a positive contribution. with regard to unions, i agree with governor perry, right to work legislation makes a lot of sense for the nation. let's not forget the government unions and the impact they're having. if we're going to pull back the
extraordinary political power, government -- we're going to have that say that people who work for the government, government workers should have their compensation tied to that which exists this the private sector. people are government servants, public servants should not be paid more than the taxpayers paying for them. >> can i very quickly. we're about to hit a hard break. comment on this? >> i've signed a pledge that i would support a national right to work. i mentioned this last night when i was a senator for pennsylvania. i did not vote for it. they're not a right to work state. i didn't want to vote for a law there that did that. as mitt mentioned, they can do training and they do a lot in the community. i work with a lot of laib unions in philadelphia and other places to do community involvement work. they try to participate as good members of the community like a business does. >> i got to cut you off. we have a mandatory break. we'll be back with more questions in just a moment.
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